Flight Fraidy Cat


Raise your hand if you’ve ever been stuck in the seat next to the person who has a fear of flying.  You know this not-so-jet-setter.  Common signs of this flyer include:

  • Rapt attention during the safety features demonstration.
  • Repeated perusal of the safety guidelines.
  • Expression of an audible, “Oh, oh, oh!” every time the plane banks to make a turn.
  • Bracing themself against the wall and the armrests, as if this will somehow keep them from falling out of the (very intact) plane window.
  • Quick jerking of their hands to the armrests when there is turbulence.
  • Obsessive observation of rowmates to assess their level of calmness (or panic, really).
  • Obsessive observation of flight attendants for the same reason.
  • Excessive sweating.  (No, they did not spill their drink on their lap.  Sweat is natural, ok?)

This flyer is annoying.  Occasionally amusing.  She makes for great storytelling to your friends during happy hour.  You figured out I’m this flyer, right?  Y’all, hear me out.

Everyone points out the extreme safety of planes.  They’re the safest form of transportation!  Thousands of flights happen everyday without incident!  I get it.  I really do. But when something finally does go wrong, that is one really horrible, horrible situation.

But you say, “Kate, look at the statistics!” There’s only  a 1 in 19.8 million chance that you could die!  You would have to go on 70,000 flights before an issue would crop up! Y’all, if I bought Powerball tickets and began imagining my schedule as a retiree sipping on Arnold Palmers as the ripe age of 28, why would the flight odds make me feel better?

You might also say things get better the more you fly.  I’m here to tell you that isn’t true.  As someone who frequently has four flights and sometimes six per week, it just Doesn’t. Get. Better.  It’s that odds thing.  Surely, I’m increasing my odds of being on that plane that has the issue.  Kind of like buying 200 lotto tickets instead of one.

There are also a lot more wackos out in the world today.  How many crazies were flying in the 50s versus how many are flying now?  A lot more, that’s how many.  That little old man with the straw hat and pictures of his grandchildren doesn’t fool me.  He probably has explosive toothpaste in his carry-on.

In the end, the only thing that makes me feel remotely better is the airplane instrument thing.  Our cars have maybe one gauge on them.  Ok, maybe three.  A commercial airplane has probably, oh,  50.  Actually I don’t know this.  Are there any pilots out there reading this blog?  Can you confirm?  Actually, I might not want to know.  Let me go on thinking there are at least 50 gauges.  Nobody answer this question unless you can tell me there are more than 50.

This is all to say, try not to judge me when I drink my Bloody Mary and toss back those anxiety pills at 7:30 A.M..

Are there any other fear of flying comrades out there?


Let’s Leave Genitalia Out Of This.

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People of the human being persuasion!

I have a request that, quite frankly, I can’t believe I even have to make, but I do and so here we are.

Can we please leave our genitalia out of arguments/disagreements/differences of opinion? For example, if you prefer mayonnaise and I prefer mustard, that does not mean that I should call you a “dick” or you should call me a “cunt.” It is not our genitalia that are informing those opinions, it is our tastebuds.

Let’s take it further. If you are anti-marriage equality and I am pro-marriage equality, it does not make sense for you to threaten to shoot my vagina or for me to threaten to chop off your penis. It is our brains that are at an impasse, not our sex organs.

What I’m trying to say is, let’s leave genitalia out of this. I don’t think with my vagina and you don’t think with your penis. Let’s stop reducing each other to our sex organs, ok? We’re so much more.

– Mae

Maybe He Has Malaria & Other Wisdom

little-red-flying-fox-hanging-out-serena-bowlesEveryone has a favorite party question. Who would you invite, living or dead, to a dinner party? David Sedaris, Cary Grant, and a recently bathed Queen Elizabeth I. What is your spirit animal? A Little Red Flying Fox bat, of course. What book would you smite from existence with a giant, fiery death ray? That’s my preferred party question, because there is only one answer. If you’re in possession of a literary fire ray, standard protocol calls for the destruction of He’s Just Not That Into You. Every misinformed, patronizing copy of it shall burn and we will dance joyfully in the ashes.

Fuck that book. Fuck all the articles claiming it might actually have value—I’m looking at you, Buzzfeed’s 65 Books You Need to Read In Your 20’s—instead of throwing it into the bonfire where it belongs. Now, I’m not a fan of censoring and I’m certainly not a fan of book burning. I just want this idiotic advice to die already. There is no romantic manual in existence, including the one that gendered the planets, doing more damage. Friends of mine, successful, lovely women with lots of sense, call it their bible.

2c85e416cee5e4f7ee3aed0df03e0ec1Here’s what I call it: bullshit. He’s Just Not That Into You has made a business out of tormenting innocent twenty-somethings. It gives us rules to date by, blithely handing out snippets of romantic fortune-telling to total strangers. If a guy doesn’t call you on Wednesday for a weekend date? He’s just not that into you. If a guy only texts you, instead of calling? He’s just not that into you. If you went home with a guy from the bar, he’s—wait for it!—just not that into you.

People aren’t that simple. I will go to my grave defending the complexity of mankind, friends. This book dishes out advice based on tired dating stereotypes: women are needy and guys must be tamed. This is dumb.

Wait, no!

This is so, so dumb that I have trouble finding words for it that don’t immediately make cerebral fluid leak out my ear. Lives are complicated. Every person we date has a history—little victories and heartbreaks that make them act they way they do. Maybe a guy is only texting you, because he thinks phones steal your life force, when talked into. Maybe he was slammed all week and, suddenly,  looked up to discover it’s Friday and he wants to see you desperately.

Sure, he may have cancelled your date because he’s an ass. Or, perhaps, he had a bout of intestinal malaria that had him clutching the Charmin for dear life. Rarely do we tell potential love interests of our bowel troubles. Instead we say “things came up” and ask them out at a later date. Thank goodness for that! You don’t want the knowledge of dear Marvin’s intestinal parasites cropping up mid-canoodle, do you? That’s how sexual phobias occur.

You don’t need this book. Romantic tribulations shouldn’t wreck your self-confidence, but there are no rules to love. If there were, no relationships would fail. We would all beatifically stroll through the world, happy and secure, until falling in love with precisely the right person at precisely the right time. That would never do for us! Humans are emotionally messy creatures, not robots. We must try the best we can. When it doesn’t work, throw a few bubbly drinks back, and keep living.

Let me be honest. If I’d followed the advice in this horrid tome, Professor McGregor and I wouldn’t be together. Hell, we never would have had a second date. Instead of being the darling man who surprises me with taxidermied mice, he would be that jerk who took two weeks to ask me out again. Horror of horrors. I’ll take a few weeks of emotional turmoil over that fate. The beginning of our relationship was filled with anxiety, yes, but it turned into something wonderful. That’s what matters.

h-armstrong-roberts-1920s-1930s-romantic-couple-evening-dress-embracing-about-to-kissYou don’t need a book to find love. You need courage, champagne on hand, and one piece of advice: Don’t date jerkfaces! If a romantic interest is mean to you, don’t date him or her. All of the advice in Barnes & Noble can be boiled down to that one, sparkling kernel. It doesn’t do to stress about timelines and made up dating etiquette. We’re all fucking clueless. Just treat people well and be wary, if they don’t reciprocate. If he brings your favorite ice cream, but didn’t call for two weeks? Ask him what’s up and eat the Mint Chocolate Chip. He might be just that into you and malaria.

Or he’s a jerkface.

Who knows? I certainly don’t and neither does any damned book.

– Grace

My Sexy Toes: A Discovery


Y’all, I’m a shoe-judger.  Yes, when you walk by on the street, I’m looking at your shoes and making all sorts of assumptions about you.  Or maybe not so much assumptions, but I’m creating an imaginary life for you.  It’s a fun game.  Your Puma ballet sneakers indicate you have two kids (Pete and Sally), a goldendoodle (Lionel), and wear drug store brand makeup to your job as a technical analyst for a software engineering firm.  Your Dansko clogs mean you were on the fast track to becoming the prima ballerina of a dance company until an ankle injury cruelly stole your dreams from beneath you. (And yes, just because Dansko sounds like dance you became a ballet dancer… I never said I was scientific about this.)  Your Kate Spade heels with the glitter and the bow? Damn you.  You must be partaking in those romantic picnics in the park with your Hugh Jackman look-alike boyfriend.  He probably feeds you grapes before you jet off to the latest Broadway performance. Damn you.  Can I be your friend?  And the men!  Your frayed sandals tell me you’re trying to relive your glory days at the frat house pool, but you’re probably just heading to the soccer field to watch your daughter run around with the cluster of other 5 yr. olds.

There’s a clear reason for this.  My wee self was restricted in my shoe selection for quite some time and when I was free of those high-topped shackles, I embraced the heeled and flip-flopped and booted freedom of which I’d so long been denied!  It meant something to get to choose the shoes of which I would wear to face the challenges of the day.  Those L.A. Gear Lights with their light-up heels were all fine and dandy, but the day I got to wear my black heels with the silver buckle?  I’ll never forget it.

There’s a point to all this, I swear.  To this day, my shoes are chosen carefully.  They might not always be the most stylish things, but they mean something to me that day.  The power suit for work is only the power suit if it’s paired with my power heels.  Those ruby pumps transform the way I march into work, ready to battle over contract language.

Or at least they did.  Still do, really.

But just this last week, I had to bring in a whole new factor into my work shoe selection:  toe cleavage.  Someone commented on said fabulous ruby heels, and noted they were lovely, but they would be wary of those particular heels because they didn’t like to be overly provocative with their toe cleavage.  Um.  What?  Have I been living under a rock?  How the hell have we sexified this?  Maybe this shouldn’t surprise me.  There is the fact that we call it cleavage.  But it’s of the toes.  WTF?  And y’all, I know there are foot fetishists out there, and to each their own, but when did that start precluding women from wearing a low vamp?  Since when have my toe apices been lumped into the same category as high hemlines and plunging blouses?

Furthermore.  If cleavage of the toes is analagous to breast cleavage, what message are we sending when we wear flip flops.  Is it the equivalent of walking topless down the street?  Are painted toes the counterpart to, you know… grooming?  Does a natural toe mean other things?!  Dear God, what message have I been sending to my online dates when we first meet?

I’d go on, but it’s time I put on those daring and risqué pumps and be out the door.  Do let me know… have you been aware of your sexy toe cleavage?


Create a Match.com Summer Singles Event & Win!

match-logoHappy Friday, kittens!

The Spinsters have been asked to participate in a birthday celebration, which you know we love. Bring on the cupcakes and candles! Last year, Match.com—the favored online dating site of our own dear Kate—launched Stir events. With Stir, singles no longer have to wade through online profiles, trying to decipher just how interested in cats that cute surfer guy is, or whether a mutual love of Tolkien is enough warrant a whole dinner. Instead, Match.com plans its own singles events, everything from hiking to bowling, and invites its local users to come and mingle. Happy 1st Birthday, Stir!

Whether you’re just nervous about meeting one-on-one (in which case, we recommend Kate’s ax murderer awareness protocol) or don’t want to waste precious prime time TV hours on individual dinner dates, Stir is the answer. They offer a huge range of activites around the United States, from large-scale happy hours at local hot spots, to more intimate events like cooking classes and tequila tastings. As of their one-year anniversary this month, Match.com’s Stir has already hosted an impressive 2,850 events! That’s 14 events each day, 75 events a week, 320 events per month! Kittens, some of those events are ghost tours. Sign us up!

Match has collaborated with over 1,200 venues and partners—including House of Blues, Banana Republic, Sur la Table and Warrior Dash—along with local gems in each city. Match is throwing singles events in over 80 cities across America – including events in Anchorage and Honolulu! Y’all, over 225,000 singles have attended a Stir event to date. Statistically, that means an intriguingly-bearded (or skirted – Match also hosts GLBT Stir events!) architect is probably tasting hot sauce near you right this very night. Online dating, you are so very, very tempting!

Even better, in celebration of the Stir anniversary, Match.com is offering the opportunity for singles to create their own Stir event. If your event is chosen, you’ll work with the Match.com Stir planners to bring it to life. Whether your ideal is a group trip to Disneyland (Hello, romantic Space Mountain cuddling!) or a feminist book reading, Match can bring it to life. All you have to do, in order to fulfill your wildest mountain climbing with interesting singles fantasy, is visit Match.com’s “What Stirs You?” Contest Page now through Tuesday May 28th, 2013 and tell Match what you think would make for the perfect singles event to be entered to win. Entries will be judged based on quality, creativity, uniqueness and geographical relevance.

The selected winner will have their idea re-created by the Match.com Stir Events team in their city, and will receive an invitation to attend the event along with ten of their singles friends – all at no charge! In addition, the winner will also receive a free six-month Match.com subscription. Sweet! So, my darling cream puffs, what are you waiting for? I know you have great ideas for Stir.

Sometimes, I Worry About Marmalade

vintage_canning_posterMillenial women, I have concerns. It’s not a usual complaint—too many of us living with our parents or forgetting how to use our vocal cords, because of the Facebook—but something more insidious. I am worried about all the marmalade.

Have you preserved something lately? The internet says you have. Sure, maybe you just made some kumquat jam or harvested some green beans from your garden for later use. What’s the big deal, Grace? Everybody’s doing it. It’s not like I’ve set up a canning shed in the backyard yet. It’s not the jelly that truly worries me. If you want homemade apple butter, that’s your (delicious) right. If you want to spend all weekend stewing beets, stew away, my little ableskiver! What worries me is the canning movement.

Everywhere I look, our generation is celebrating domesticity. We’re making jam and knitting sweaters. We’re not only sewing our own clothes, but weaving the fabric from backyard cotton crops and creating chevron prints with handmade vegetable dyes. Flocks of children are being cooed over and homeschooled and raised on homemade organic vegan baby food. And that’s great! The domestic arts are important, under-appreciated crafts. For far too long, “women’s work” was reviled and treated as an expectation, not a honed skill. Knowing how to make things yourself is not only important, but freeing for both genders. De-stigmatizing the feminine is always a good idea, in my book.

Only…I’m less convinced that’s what we’re doing. Could this “new domesticity” not be busting gender roles at all, but reinforcing them? Look at your Facebook feed. Are any of your guy friends posting about the fruitcake they just baked or the new quilt they made for their son’s room? I’m betting not. Young women, however, are baking and sewing and quilting in droves. We’re sharing photos of our creations and blogging about them. Such hobbies are becoming the social norm for women.

canning_foods_vintageEven the look of our generation—the much reviled, but still copied hipster—falls into a gender dichotomy. The Millennial guy, the one who will be parodied at fraternity parties in twenty years, is hyper-masculine. He has facial hair and flannel shirts. He’s really into video games and philosophy and locally sourced bourbon. Meanwhile, our dear Millennial woman has long flowing hair, which she artfully arranges into a braided sock bun, and wears twee, collared dresses she’s made with her own hands. She bakes towering, photogenic cakes and uses homemade cleaning solutions to scrub the kitchen mess away.

That’s not radical, friends. That’s traditional.

If we’d reinvented domesticity, surely it would be split more equitably along gender lines? If our argument is that we’re de-stigmitazing women’s work, then these hobbies shouldn’t be confined to women. Just as many guys should be teaching sewing classes and making scones for their families on the weekend. And—I say this as a person who enjoys both of those things—they’re not. The revival of these arts is a vastly female endeavor. The people who are reading the blogs and pinning the recipes? Women.

We haven’t reinvented homemaking at all, we’ve returned to it. It’s not an inherently bad thing, because the traditionally feminine isn’t inherently bad, but it is a cause for concern. All too many women I know are getting involved with these pursuits out of a sense of expectation. All of their friends suddenly care about canning strawberry jam, so they must as well. The moment that pressure happens, we have a problem. Hobbies are all well and good. Choosing to stay home and raise your children is also all well and good, but we must keep it that, precisely: a choice.

We fought for our right to make pecan pie and kick ass in the working world. Little by little, women have bashed in the social constructs that kept us in the kitchen. The death of these societal expectations is what allows this “new domesticity” to exist, that allows a choice to be made. I’m worried that we’re getting complacent about keeping that choice. The same friends who learn to knit out of a sense of peer pressure, insist that feminism is no longer necessary. That is my marmalade nightmare, friends. Are we going to, slowly and beautifully, place ourselves right back on that pretty, homemade pedestal?

1950skitchenThere is still a war to be fought. The wage gap continues to exist; the gender roles continue to negatively affect both sexes. This is not the time to blithely saunter back toward tradition. Let’s bake our pies and care for our children, but keep up the good fight while we do so. Maybe our guy friends would like to make a perfect meringue or our sons would like to weed the garden? The feminine ideal shouldn’t be charming and pretty and accomplished. The feminine ideal shouldn’t be.

Canning fruit doesn’t make you a good woman. Sewing your husband a shirt doesn’t make you a good wife. You are good, whether you burn water or achieve perfectly fluffy souffles. The new domesticity is lovely, but it should never be an expectation. If you want to wear pearls and vacuum, then vacuum your little heart out. Just remember that you don’t have to.

Make your marmalade. Make intellectual war, while you’re at it.

– Grace

The Apathetic Bridal Guide

l_b25aab40-f095-11e1-aee4-f3a7ac600006There exists in this world a rare and wonderful creature. The Apathetic Bride. Unlike her cousin, The Relentlessly Excited Bride, she does not walk in beauty like the night, but in indifference like the esoteric holiday. She is the Happy Arbor Day! of engaged women. Her wedding planning resembles a Hawaiian Columbus Day parade: short-lived, rife with confusion, and ending with a relieved trip to the beach. Centerpieces bore her and her idea of a catering meeting is a trip to Whataburger. The Apathetic Bride would rather participate in a rousing game of Collect The Camel Spit than attend The Bridal Extravaganza.

I am an apathetic bride, friends.

Don’t tell the bridal industry gods, as they get a bit smite-happy with those pointy cake toppers, but wedding planning is mind-numbing. There are so many things to consider, none of which I care about. Outside of my dress (which I’m making) and the cake (delicious), I could give two shits about any of it. Two giant whale shits. Worse, there is no advice for my kind. We don’t make the industry any money, so we don’t have our own handbook or magazine. We’d have to care about weddings, in order to produce our own pamphlet. The Apathetic Bride would much rather watch paint dry, thanks. And so, it is left to me. For while I don’t enjoy talking about weddings, I do so love making fun of them!

My dear ennui-struck compatriots, I give you my Magnum Opus:

The Apathetic Bridal Guide: Part One, Because A Whole Opus Takes A Really Long Time and I Have Sundresses to Sew.


Apathetic Bride, do you have a favorite color that you want to splash everything with on your special yeti day? No? Don’t worry about. People will say that, for your wedding to make sense thematically, you must reduce the essence of you and yours to a color pairing. What will your guests do, if they don’t know that your relationship is best portrayed by sea green and puce? They’ll deal with it. Your wedding does not need a theme. Your wedding does not need a color. Pick some stuff you like, plan a party like you normally do, and don’t stress about it. I’m going to have lots of shades of rose & floral prints, because I like them and they’re easy.

When people badger you about “your colors,” feel free to take my response:

Innocent Bystander: Grace, you must be so excited about your WEDDINGMARRIAGEAWESOMEDAYOFAWESOME!
Grace: Totes.
Innocent Bystander: So, what are your colors?
Grace: Torment and anguish!
Innocent Bystander: Oh, like a fancy gothic wedding?
Grace: No, like how I feel when people tell me I should pick out specific colors for this party. Why do I need a perfect color pairing? We’re not painting a baby, we’re throwing a party. A PARTY! WOOHOO!

*run off yelling woohoo*


1930sbrideFlowers are a big deal for weddings. They’re also hella expensive and will die a disgusting, wilting mildew death within a few days. You are not going to be Miss Havisham, surrounded forever by the corpses of your wedding day, so they really don’t need to be that fancy. Have you ever seen hideous flowers? Of course, not. They’re Mother Nature’s version of nipple tassles: bright, shiny, and attractive to horny insects. Whichever ones you pick—roses, daisies, even the much-reviled carnations—will be pleasing to the eye. As such, you don’t actually need to pay a florist half your budget. Order some wholesale flowers from a reputable source, then blithely gather bottles and vases during your engagement period. On the day, throw some flowers in some containers and group them on tables as you want.

Voila! Instant “rustic chic” centerpieces. You’re welcome.


You don’t have to wear a white, strapless dress.

That’s all the advice I have. Wear whatever you want, whether that’s a gigantic Vera Wang ball gown, or an orange bias-cut column gown from your favorite vintage shop. There is no law saying it must be white, expensive, and kept for future generations. Hell, if you get married on a nude beach, it need not even exist. These are my words of freedom to you. Wear something you like, then get married.


Wedding chicken sucks. It’s also expensive, boring, and needless. There are plenty of interesting ways to get around the traditional catering menu. Professor McGregor and I have decided to have an early-afternoon wedding and will be serving—All the pancake lovers rejoice!—brunch. You can have a beloved food truck roll up to your shindig or rent a BBQ smoker. You can serve hamburgers. Or, have a truly “retro wedding” and just eat cake & punch. Hell, you can get married in November and have Luby’s cater the entire thing as a Thanksgiving Dinner. Turkey and cranberry sauce for everyone!

Do not chain yourself to $35/plate catering menus. They aren’t your only option, whatever the wedding magazines tell you. Before you book a venue, make sure they don’t tie you to such shenanigans.

Here’s my final tip for wedding planning, dear ennui-struck ones: Don’t stress about lame things! All of those “traditions” you think are awkward and boring? Don’t do them. Invite some people, eat some food, then get married as fuck. It’s not odd to be uninterested in your wedding; it’s normal.

We will get through this lace-bedecked hellscape together.

– Grace

Where Have All the Love Letters Gone?


My workplace is limiting my email storage so I’ve been forced to look at emails I wrote back in the day.  It’s fun to see how unprofessional I was when I was a wee little Kate, making my foray into the business world.  Like the time I used 17 exclamation points in one message.  That was really cool.  I’m sure the Vice President who got my three-paragraph thank you email about lunch thought that was really cute.  But I digress. It was during this clean-up that I came across a rather large group of emails from my last official boyfriend in ::coughcough2007coughcough::. It would have been weird to go through them, re-read them, re-live my mindset from back then, so I quickly glanced at a couple then did a mass delete and it felt good.  But! I was reminded of something missing in my life and the lives of others.

Where have all the cowboys love letters gone? [It adds a little something if you sing it to the tune of that Paula Cole song.  Is it stuck in your head now?  You’re welcome.]

We live in an age where the love letter has been replaced with the email or the text message.  While some could use this as a platform to lament the use of the email or the text message, I will not.  You see, I actually like them quite a bit.  As opposed to a letter, they’re something you can get unexpectedly, any time of the day.*  That text message I got after a grueling meeting, the one from a date telling me he looks forward to seeing me tonight?  Yah, I’ll never object to it.

However, it’s the sheer volume of text messages and emails, and the obvious ease of sending them, which makes the love letter special, coveted, and missed.  It says something when your significant other takes the time to pull out the nice paper, a pen, and spend the time to come up with the perfect way to describe your golden locks or the way he goes all mushy when you tilt your head just so.  Or maybe he’s just letting you know how much he enjoyed the road trip to that one vineyard, and how he got to spend so much time with you.  I tear up just thinking about it!  Really.

Further, love letters provide the perfect opportunity for you to use your lover’s full name in a way that’s really sexy.  In romance novels, the heroine always notices when the hero uses her first name for the first time.  I don’t know about you, but seeing My Dearest Katharine** on the page would definitely make my lady parts quiver a little bit more than seeing plan ol’ Kate.  And that’s just the first few words!

Love letters are an acceptable place to describe that weird quirk about your lover that you never knew how to say in person.  Or maybe shouldn’t say.  Like the fact that in the mornings you like watching his nostrils flare while he’s still sleeping.  You think it’s cute.  But maybe that conversation is one that doesn’t go as smoothly in person.  The love letter, instead, lets you express these things and you get to avoid seeing the weird look on his face. But know that the weird look will probably turn into a blush and he’ll take a certain pride knowing his nostrils give you so much pleasure.

Love letters have an enduring and tangible aspect that just isn’t with an email or a text.  No digging through filed emails or trying to remember that sweet text message from five years ago.  The letters are there, in your hands, always available, and looking more loved and cherished over time.  Someday, your kids might even think they’d be great scrapbook material!

The road goes both ways on this one.  Men enjoy getting letters just as much as women.  Dare I say they even enjoy the well-thought letter even more than many women do?

How many of you get handwritten love letters on a regular basis?  Do tell!


*But to that guy, who texted me at 11:30 P.M., telling me he only wanted me to sit next to him in bed and talk and “nothing more.”  Yah, you didn’t fool me.  Less than subtle and highly offensive.
**But while we’re on this topic, a note of caution; the love letter is not the place to test out that new “pumpkin cheeks” name you thought of when you saw your loved one bending over in the supermarket aisle to reach for that can of green beans.

A Spinster’s Arsenal-in-a-Bag


Aside from the requisite lip gloss, wallet, and keys, there are a few other must-haves in my handbag.  Dating is serious business y’all.  It’s critical I keep a well-stocked arsenal on hand.


No, I don’t pluck my eyebrows on a date (or ever actually… are you picturing me with a Kahlo-esque unibrow right now?).  But when it’s patio season in Texas, you can bet every date will suggest drinks outside.  Just when I’m feeling confident that I’ve arranged myself to my best advantage on the sticky plastic chair that causes my thighs to sweat more than is seemly, I notice that errant hair twisting up near my ankle.  Y’all, it’s like a Sasquatch hair.  I swear it’s way thicker than any other leg hair I’ve ever grown and it has somehow evaded the razor for what must be weeks on end.  How the hell did I miss it?!  And so, bathroom break, tweezers.  I wish I could tell you this had only happened to me one time in the past…

A Compact Mirror

You might never meet another person who touches their nose more than I do.  And it’s because of this:  I fear a visible… crusty.  A bat in the cave, if you will.  When I get really paranoid, I can’t focus on anything else.  There was that time I dated someone for a month and couldn’t recall why he had joint custody of his dog.  There was a story he’d recounted on our way to a play, but my mind was otherwise engaged.  Surely, a bat was hanging out, and I’d been debating just how ginormous that bat must be.  Was it a dangler?  Was it lodged on the side, waiting to fling itself out of my schnoz the moment I laughed?  Perhaps it was only a fluttery little thing, but moving enough that it would distract my date?  Gone from my memory were the 15 minutes of conversation wherein the presence of the little white fluffball of a dog was explained.  This, spinster friends, is why I take a compact mirror.  Screw powdering my nose or touching up my lip gloss.  One must be able to confirm an empty cavity, and a compact mirror ensures I become a deeper listener.

An Extra Pair of Underwear

I’m not entirely sure why these are needed.  It’s not like I’ve ever crapped my pants, but maybe this is all those years of Girl Scout training, telling me you can never be too prepared.

My Cell Phone

…with Grace’s number on speed dial and text messages to my mother, sister, grandmother, best friend, coworker, supermarket bagger, and bank teller, detailing  key identifiers of my date.  You know.  Just in case he turns out to be an axe* murderer.

6:03 P.M.  His name is Michael. He’s returning from the pistol range, which means he probably owns a gun.

6:24 P.M.  Full name is Michael William Throckmorton IV.  He drives a 7-series BMW.  I’m not sure what that says about him, other than the fact that he has money, but you should probably be on alert.  He could do away with me and nobody would suspect the successful dude.

6:26 P.M.  For the record, I don’t care that he has money.  I’m successful enough on my own.  But you know this.  But I had to clarify.  Right.

7:08 P.M.  We made it to the restaurant.  No signs of zip ties or plastic bags.

9:55 P.M.  He wants to show me the “art” in his apartment.  Should I be concerned?  Is this a euphemism for something else?  What if he keeps hooks o’torture in his closet?

10:02 P.M.  Earth to Grace!  I have to make a decision here!

10:16 P.M. Ok, executive decision made.  We’re on the way to his apartment.

10:37 P.M.  Damn it, I forgot to check his apartment number.  We’re in the middle of the complex, down one of the halls.  3rd floor.  His door faces someone who has a Hello Kitty wreath.

10:38 P.M.  Also, why does he live in an apartment if he drives a 7-series?

12:11 A.M.  So… he really did just show me his art.  OMG.  What does that say about me?!  Shouldn’t he have tried to get my pants off?  I wore mesh panties! That should count for something!

12:14 A.M.  The panties are really cute.  Remind me to send you the link.

12:31: A.M.  OK I’m home.  Damn it.  The cats say hello.

Speaking of cats…

An Industrial Lint Roller

If I’ve dressed in anything nice or dark-colored, it’s like a homing beacon for the cats.  Is that a black sweater?  Why no, it’s now a white cat hair blend!  I might as well throw on my cat necklace and keep a stash of kitty treats sticking out the top of my bag.

If you’ve been counting, this makes no less than 12 trips to the restroom.  The guy must think have a bladder the size of a pea or that the shrimp scampi isn’t settling well.

What other key items do I need to add to my list?


*I like to contemplate what an Axe murderer might be like in the men’s fragrance sense of the word.

The Hickey: A Plague! A Mythical Love Plague!

Iil_570xN.392181666_nxoln eighth grade, I knew a lot about kissing.

I hadn’t actually done a lot of kissing, mind you, but I’d heard expert advice on such matters. (Note: For a thirteen year-old Grace, those experts were Dawson’s Creek, the classic movie channels, and Ashley Lindsey from my US History class who made out with her boyfriend in the canyon behind school every afternoon.) In my mind, there were three absolute rules of kisses:

  1. The greatest one of all time had already happened, thanks to Wesley and Buttercup, so the pressure was off.
  2. Boys tasted like Doritos and rubber orthodontia bands.
  3. If you really made out with someone, you’d have to wear a turtleneck the next day.

Two of these things ended up being true. The third, however, was a load of hippopotamus vomit. Do you know how bloody impossible it is to give someone a hickey, kittens? In order to make that perfectly crimson blemish, a delicate balance of sucking and biting must occur. All of this must happen while making noises of make out delight and balancing atop your prey partner. So: biting, sucking, and balancing. These things do not go together seamlessly, unless you are a world-renowned lollipop gymnast. You’re not. You will bite too hard, or suck with too much effort. Unless your kissing partner is a masochist, such attempts shall result in high-pitched squeals of pain, not a hickey.

How did this become our visual shorthand for passionate encounters? Give me tousled hair! Give me beard burn! Instead, we’re left with rare painful welts. Kissing shouldn’t have so much in common with Ebola, friends. What’s next? Using Black Death-esque buboes as code for “We’re pregnant!”? Nothing says bundle-of-joy like massively swollen lymph glands!

What’s more, if my kissing partner ever actually marked me in such a way, I’d be enraged. Deigning to make out with someone does not make you theirs to mark! If you want to tell the world you like me, buy some damned flowers. Roses speak of affection more efficiently than scabs. If Professor McGregor broke skin during our canoodling, I’d have grave concerns about his mortality. Have you encountered anyone who sparkles lately, love? Is your skin turning to ash in the sun?

We brand cattle, not romantic partners. If you’ve practiced giving hickeys enough to actually be able to pull them off, please put your free time to better use. You’d, no doubt, be good at imitating a blowfish. Perhaps join a circus as The Human Sea Porcupine? Whatever you do, don’t hickey any more unsuspecting souls. That’s how these ridiculous tropes get started. Now, if you’d share what you’ve learned here today with Those Construction Workers Who Whistle at Women Pedestrians, it would save me ever so much time.

So, am I the only one who’s never displayed this ultimate sign of passion? Tell me true, love hamsters. Hickeys: fact or fiction?

– Grace